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Monday, March 27, 2017

What To Know About Homeowner’s Associations

What to Know About Homeowner's Associations

When looking at homes for sale in St. Louis and St. Charles County, Missouri you may notice “association fees” in the listing details. So what are these association fees? They are monthly or yearly dues to the homeowner’s association for the community where the home is located.

What is a homeowner’s association?

A homeowner’s association (HOA) is an organization within a planned community that creates and enforces rules for homeowners within the community. They are usually setup as 501(c)(4)organizations that collect dues to be distributed to maintain the community. If you purchase a home in the community, you automatically will be responsible for paying the association dues.
Homeowners Association Amenities

What does a homeowner’s association do?

Homeowner’s associations oversee and enforce a community’s covenants as well as assist in maintaining the quality of the community. This can include but is not limited to: maintaining common areas, sidewalks, streets, community clubhouse, community pool and playground equipment. They hire and distribute funds to the contractors that do the work. Also the association has to purchase and maintain insurance for community amenities covered by the HOA.

HOA ResponsibilitiesAre homeowner’s associations common?

According to the Foundation for Community Association Research, “the number of Americans living in HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 1 in 4 today.” So they have become quite common as a way for communities to be maintained and keep home values at a premium.

How are homeowner’s association fees determined?

The board of directors of a homeowner’s association determines the amount of the fees. They do this by determining the projected annual expenses of the association and dividing by the number of homes.  Board members are usually homeowners from the community that volunteer and do not profit from HOA fees. In fact, they too will have to pay the HOA fees sometimes called assessments or maintenance fees.

How do I find out what a homeowner’s association covers for a community?

Homeowner's Association Rules 
Each association has its own unique rules and policies. If you are planning to buy a home in a community that has a homeowner’s association, it’s important that you read the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws. If the listing agent doesn’t provide these with the listing documentation, be sure to request them so that you know before you buy.

Generally homeowner’s associations offer a benefit to those living in the community. Combined funds keep the community maintained, home values up and offer the option to have a swimming pool, tennis court or other benefits that an individual homeowner may not be able to afford and maintain on their own. The Boehmer Team has helped many homebuyers who found the home of their dreams in a community with a homeowner’s association. In addition we’ve helped many sellers living in HOA communities sell their homes. We know the in’s and out’s of HOA’s and are ready to help you with your real estate needs even if they involve a homeowner’s association.

Additional references: 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

How Mortgage Rates Affect Home Buying

How Mortgage Rates Affect Home Buying

Why should St. Louis and St. Charles County, Missouri area real estate agents, investors and buyers be concerned about mortgage interest rates? Because mortgage rates can largely impact what a home buyer can purchase.

While rising home prices can limit how much house a home buyer can purchase, mortgage rates also add to the total cost of a home purchase. Lenders add these rates when figuring the total amount they will let you borrow for a mortgage loan.  Higher costs of borrowing money means less of that money can be used toward the actual property.
Saving for a down payment

A swift rise in mortgage rates may require current homebuyers to readjust their purchase plans. They may decide to save for a larger down payment, look for a less expensive home, choose an adjustable-rate mortgage with a lower starting interest rate or they may choose to exit the housing market until another time.

For those who aren’t already homeowners, mortgage rates could affect the tipping point at which renting or buying a home is more affordable. However in the St. Louis and St. Charles County areas of Missouri, purchasing a home can still be more affordable than renting when it comes to monthly mortgage payments versus monthly rent payments.

Rising Mortgage RatesMortgage rates are based on rates set by the Federal Reserve.  The Fed’s strategy to assist the nation post-recession was to keep rates very low. But this means the rates have nowhere to go but up. Economists expect an improving economy over the next several years, meaning rates are expected to steadily raise.

“With rising rates it might be best not to buy a home that is a financial stretch,” says Kelly Boehmer. “Now is the time to consider a home that is at or under budget.”Saint Louis Real Estate Market

Despite rising mortgage rates, new home sales contracts went up by 3.7% in January. While existing home sales rose by 3.3% in January – the fastest pace since February 2007.

According to Linda Boehmer, "Ultimately it is other factors, like a strong economy, that have a bigger impact on house prices than changes in mortgage rates."

Check with your lender if you are concerned about how higher mortgage rates might affect you. Chances are the difference may only be $40-$75 month. If you need a referral for an experienced and trustworthy mortgage lender, contact The Boehmer Team for contact information on several reputable area lenders.